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Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Care Package

My youngest brother just started his first year of college and he has a lot on his plate.  In addition to living in and exploring a new city, he is a chemistry major, midshipman, hopeful intramural cross country runner, and aspiring quidditch player.  He has already made the difficult, although grown-up and responsible decision to not run for the varsity cross country team.  In his own words "XC had to go, because I just did it for the fun of it. Being really good helped, but it always came down to the fun."  He always was modest...but I am proud of him for making the mature choice. 

All the new friends, places, and responsibilities are exciting, but I expect pretty overwhelming, and I thought I could send him something as a reminder that his family is thinking about him and praying for him.  But what to make??  After crossing off earrings and a sparkly bracelet from the list of possibilities (although wouldn't Swarovski crystals really compliment his ROTC uniform?) I settled on a one decade pocket rosary.  This mini version fits in any pocket, so it is portable but still functional.  It serves a dual purpose- it is a reminder of the challenge to "pray without ceasing" as well as a source of comfort.  Anytime you stick your hand into your pocket for some change or for your phone, you'll touch this pocket rosary and be reminded of the Lord's proximity.  

I wanted to add some extra medals.  I thought adding his patron saint, St. Sebastian (the patron of athletes) would be a nice touch.  And while I was at it, an angel would be a reminder of his protecting guardian angel.  And why not a St. Francis of Paola, the patron of naval officers?  Or St. Maximilian Kolbe who is a modern day holy example of loving your neighbor as yourself?  Suddenly, this miniature rosary was growing too large for a pocket, not to mention that the multitude of medals clinking together would sound like church bells in my brother's pocket!  

The final product is simple- 10 mater beads, 1 pater, a Marian station, and a crucifix.  Sometimes simple is better.  I am happy with the results!  I hope my brother likes it as well.  

 One for my brother and one for a friend who might also need a reminder of God's guidance, protection, and comfort.

The pocket rosary in the front of this picture is made with two of my favorite gemstones.  The Hail Mary beads are bronzite; this gemstone supposedly helps with purposeful decision making, goal setting, and following ones principles.  (If you click the picture you can view a larger version, this small one doesn't do the bronzite justice.  It is truly beautiful!)  The big orange bead (the Our Father bead) is carnelian.  Carnelian has been found in ancient Egyptian tombs and is mentioned in Hebrew scripture.  The second pocket rosary has hematite Hail Mary beads and a wooden Our Father bead.  Hematite is said to aid memory and intellect.  I don't think that touching a stone can really influence how you make decisions or improve your memory, but I do like learning about the properties associated with the stones throughout history.  For me, it adds an extra level of meaning to selecting gemstones for a loved one.  For someone looking for a memory boost or better decision making skills, it can remind him to be aware of their weakness and make a conscious effort to focus on their goals.

With all the stress and constant demands for your attention, where do you find comfort?

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